I was shaving my head at the time – which made me easy to spot. A friend sent me a photo of the telecast when she saw me, and my sister N said she scared her family when she yelled at her tv.

In the bowels of Canada Hockey Place, the medal ceremony team of 28 was jammed into an office between the USA and Canada locker rooms. We were constantly shushed by the Venue team “so as not to mess with players’ heads.” In the arena, the crowd roared, stomping their feet so strongly the walls shook. Please God, let Canada win, I thought.

End of the first period – Canada leads 1-0.

The mood was both tense and celebratory. Everyone knew this could change quickly, so nobody dared say much. The medal and flower bearers and presenter escorts were in costume, as were the RCMP flag bearers. I continually reminded myself to breathe.

End of period two – Canada leads 2-1.

Excitement filled the air. The flower bouquets were taken out of the cooler, every bud and leaf inspected. The medals sparkled on their wooden trays. It was almost like they couldn’t wait to be seen, admired and cherished.

God, please let Canada win! I couldn’t remember the last time I had prayed this much. Normally I’d be watching with friends, cheering and yelling until my voice was hoarse. Instead, there were no words, and my stomach performed more summersaults than a Cirque du Soleil acrobat. I looked at the chocolate chip cookie one of my medal bearers brought me…I still could not eat.  

Time came to line up the medal, flower and flag bearers in the tunnel behind team USA’s bench.  The presenter escorts waiting at the ready to bring the IOC President and the International Ice Hockey Federation President down from their box once the game ended. One final check ensured everyone remembered the protocol and choreography. Once the final whistle blew, the ceremony had to be ready for broadcast within three minutes.

With everything set to go, I took my place at the front of the line.

One minute left in the game. Canada still leads 2-1.

I saw the logistics team coordinator move towards me with the piece of carpet I was to put on the ice as a guide for the on-ice logistics team.

“Don’t bring it yet,” I said. “What if the US scores and ties the game?”

No sooner had I spoken these words, the horn sounded. Team USA had tied the game with 25 seconds left. The game presentation lead (an American) played the buzzer slightly longer than normal – his personal little celebration of the USA goal, which made me smile.

Along with the home-town crowd, I was momentarily stunned into silence, but quickly found my voice and shouted: “Pick up your trays! Get back into our room!” The heavy trays had been laid on the floor in wait.  “Goooo! We can’t be in the way when they go into their locker room!”

Time dragged for everyone as it sunk in.

I looked at my medals ceremony team: “as soon as overtime starts, we need to be ready. First goal wins, and we have no idea how long it’ll take… seconds…or…hours.”

With the players back on the ice, we lined up, again, waiting in the tunnel –  ready to either make our way onto the ice or run back into the office. No one said a word. We were all on pins and needles.

Please God…let Canada win…I prayed one more time.

7:40 into overtime, the building erupted as Sydney Crosby scored.

Thank God!

Once the USA bench cleared, I stepped onto the ice and placed the carpet, indicating how the medal ceremony was to line up. Weaving through a jubilant Team Canada and deflated Team USA, I helped pick up gloves, sticks and helmets strewn on the ice, and threw them onto the players’ benches.

Then I saw him. Stevie Y, team Canada’s General Manager, and my all-time fave. He was walking towards me. Oh man, I thought. He’s so HOT! This is it! This is my chance to jump him! But I can’t. I’ll get fired. Doesn’t matter, it’s the last day! But I can’t. Paige (my boss) would be disappointed. So I stood there and watched him go by. Damnnnn!

I coaxed crying USA team members to line up in jersey order, so their names could be announced as they received their medals. Seeing these grown men cry very nearly brought me to tears. You don’t really “win” silver do you? You “lose” gold. Hopefully in time they would be happy and love their beautiful medal. Meanwhile, I needed to rush them into place and soon found Paige at my side helping me do just that.

After ensuring my co-worker had the Canadian team lined up, I radio’d Matt. “Go for Ceremonies!”

As team Canada received their gold medals, I watched from the USA players’ bench. Soaking in the atmosphere, I thought to myself, BEST WORK DAY EVER!

ABOVE: watching my team make their way onto the ice for the ceremony, and likely talking to Game Presentation. BELOW: tucked in behind the USA bench, watching the Canadian Flag go up, and singing the anthem. I felt so happy, proud…and incredibly tired!